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A warning about content. This show contains descriptions of violence. Listener discretion is advised.


From FBI Houston to Director of FBI Quantico.


24 hours after McKay Everett was kidnapped, the FBI wrote a report summarizing the facts in the case thus far.


On September 12th, 1995, Samuel McKay Everett was abducted from his residence at 431 Pine Springs Court, Conroe, Texas, at approximately 8:30 PM, Central time. Victim is a white male, born March first, 1983. He is 5'1, 100 pounds. Victim has light blue eyes and light brown hair and has braces on teeth with light blue rubber bands. Victim's parents, Carl and Paulette Everett, were at an Amway meeting when the victim was taken. After this meeting, parents went to a local restaurant, and the father attempted to telephonically contact his son with negative results. According to the father, he advised his wife that he was going to go home and check son. Shortly after he arrived home, he received a telephone call from what he believed to be a white female, 30 to 40 years old, with a raspy voice who advised, If you want to see your son alive, get $500,000 in $100 bills Mr. Everett asked to speak with his son, and her response was, If you ever want to see your son again, you better not call the law or make a big deal. Mr. Everett demanded to speak with McKay again, and the collar hung As of midnight, September 13, 1995, there have been no calls or contact from subjects.


Interviews with the father have resulted in few leads. One neighbor who resides across the street from the victim's observed a gold or fawn-colored Chrysler or Dodge vehicle depart from the victim's residence at approximately 8:35 PM at a high rate of speed. The witness observed a Crown automobile dealership sticker attached to the rear of the car. Crown is a Chrysler Dodge dealership in the Houston area. The victim's father is self-employed and has an estimated net worth of approximately $2 million. However, several interviews that have been conducted reflect that the Everets may be experiencing some financial difficulty. This was evidenced by an interview with his loan service that stated Everett has not paid his bill in four months. Comments from other associates also indicate some financial difficulties may exist. Everett is scheduled to be polygraphed.


From KSL podcast, I'm Art Rascone. This is Ransom, Position of Trust. Episode 2, Questioning Everything. It was the morning of September 14th, 1995, 36 hours since McKay Everett had disappeared. Every hour that passed, the trail leading to McKay grew colder and the chances he would be hurt grew higher. So the FBI worked fast to interview top suspects. Mckay's mother, Paulette, remembers how the FBI took her husband, Carl, to polygraph him in the nursery.


I kept a nursery in the home, whether we had a small child or not. And so that was the polygraph room.


Polygraphs, or lie detectors, as they're sometimes known, are controversial instruments because they're only somewhat accurate, and practiced liars can sometimes evade detection. Because of this, they're generally inadmissible in court. But many law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, still feel that polygraphs are useful.


It's routine when you don't know who you're dealing with.


They say even though polygraphs aren't 100% accurate, they're still useful for screening suspects. When a polygraph If the result suggests someone might be lying, it raises a red flag, and agents can then follow up with further questions and investigation to try to verify the results. As the FBI polygraphed Carl, Paulette traced back through their relationship and wondered how they'd gotten into this situation. Paulette and Carl had known each other for 27 years. They'd grown up in neighboring towns in Mississippi. Paulette was from McGee, and Carl grew up in nearby Mendenhall. They met in the summer of 1968.


My sister was dating a guy by the name of Ricky Warren, and Carl and Ricky decided they were going to run from Mendenhall to McGee because they were both training for football. Carl ended up in the front lawn, laid out. And so that's how I met him. We just developed a good friendship.


But there was a four year age gap between them.


He was 15 and I was 19.


So at first, Carl and Paulette just became friends. Paulette wasn't sure exactly why, but she was drawn to Carl. She felt like she could trust him, and she was in need of someone she could trust.


I realized life is not a cakewalk at an early age. My parents were... They taught me the work ethic But they were reckless. There were a lot of us children, and my father was violent. So I realized some of the people you should be able to trust, I wasn't able to trust them.


Paulette's father was angry and abusive, and Paulette's mother seemed to care more about keeping up appearances than she cared about protecting her children. So Paulette tried to spend as much time away from home as she could. And after meeting Carl, she started spending more and more time at Carl's house.


They had a working farm, a true working farm. They had cows and calves, egg laying and chickens, and they had baby pigs everywhere, and I love baby pigs. And so I was just in heaven. It was the typical old Southern home, one of those horizontal deep freezes in the dining room. Nothing fancy. They weren't fancy people. And so that was a neat place for me to be mentally and emotionally. It was just healthy.


Eventually, Carl and Paulette began dating.


Just developed over time because it was such an age difference. And then I realized that for his age, he was, at that point in life, pretty mature.


Then one day in 1970, Carl was driving Paulette home.


Carl is not a severe romantic person. We were riding along and he reached under the car seat and handed me an engagement ring. That was it. He was 17, and I was 21. His mama signed for us to get married, and I go, What was that woman thinking? And I'm thinking, What was I thinking?


Carl and Paulette spent the next eight years in Mississippi. Paulette got her degree education and started teaching, and Carl joined the National Guard to pay his way through a master's in forestry management. He graduated in 1978 and landed a job in Texas.


I knew I could find a teaching job anywhere. So we came to Texas because that was where the best opportunity was for him. So this is where we thought we could make our fortune, and we did.


There are millions of miles of roads in this great country, and you can drive down every one of them and never find another gasoline like Amaco Super Premium.


You expect more from Amaco, and you get it. In 1979, after the Everets had been in Conroe for about a year, a friend offered Carl a job working for the oil and gas company Amaco. That year, the Iranian Revolution disrupted oil production. But while most of the country was waiting in long lines to fill up their cars, the oil and gas industry was booming, and Carl was learning a skillset that was in high demand.


After about a year at AMACO and getting trained well, the headhunters just really started calling One said, Well, we will double what you're making. And it was just too good of a deal not to take.


Finally feeling financially stable, the Everets decided to start a family.


Carl was the one that just really wanted We wanted to have children. At one point, we didn't think we would have any children. So he was basically a surprise. I was teaching when I was pregnant, and then I started having swollen feet and everything. Carl, he could not understand pregnancy. He didn't drive to. And just got sicker and sicker and didn't know what it was. And we just kept telling myself, this will be over soon. But something wasn't right. So I went to the doctor. And so I had developed toxemia.


Toxemia also also known as preeclampsia, is a disorder where blood pressure increases dramatically during pregnancy, and it can be deadly for mother and child.


I had to go back the next day to have my blood pressure and everything checked, and he said, That's You're in distress. And he sent me home for bed rest. I had to get a substitute for the rest of the year.


And on top of Paulette's health troubles, Carl called from a work trip to break some bad news.


He was up north and he called me and he said, They're going to let me go. One of our friends had snuck in the boardroom and read everything during everybody's lunch break. He called Carl and said, You're getting laid off, but they're going to pay for your insurance because they feel sorry for you and Paulette because she's pregnant. Carl said, What do I do? Then I said, Well, do you have anything in your briefcase?


The oil and gas industry was cutthroat. Paulette had told Carl to always keep some valuable documents in his briefcase in case something like this happened.


He said, Yeah, I've got something. I said, Well, tell them you're going to throw it in the dumpster. I said, You're not going to walk away. They can buy you out. I said, And when they give you a check, go straight to that bank and cash it.


Paulette's scheme worked. Carl used the money from the buyout to start up his own oil and gas business. And on March first, 1983, McKay Everett was born. He weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and he had big blue eyes.


As blue as blue could be.


Paulette quit her job teaching, and after recovering from the delivery, she helped out with Carl's oil business. She ran the day-to-day operations from their home while Carl traveled and did field work. And for a while, things were good between Carl and Paulette.


As long as there was some struggle, we worked together well. And then the more money that we seemed to make, the less dependent on each other that we were, the less compatible. We didn't have that struggle. We didn't have that common goal. That was where I think our marriage began to break down. We had McKay when I was almost 34. Your focus changes a lot. You tend to put the child absolutely first. And then your marriage limps along here and there because you're putting the child first.


And now, with the son she'd always put first, missing, all the wealth she and Carl had acquired felt hollow.


Oh, this is fun and it's nice to have, but my greatest prize was my son.


And with the FBI polygraphing the husband she had always trusted, and with all her friends as suspects, Paulette was questioning everything.


There are days still now, 27 years later, I still go, What happened? I asked myself I get that. Probably every week, what in the world happened?


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I never did. What I did wonder because he was out with the police like they were going to solve it in five minutes. I had fallen totally apart. I was no good to anybody. They never even bothered asking me for a polygraph.


At this point in the investigation, Paulette didn't know who she could trust. Fbi agents started looking at all of the Everett's close friends.


We were starting to compile leads.


Bob Lee was one of the FBI agents working the case.


Obviously, you look at the family first. You also look at friends, others that may have had some knowledge of the family's activities. We tried to get a list of the people who were at the Amway meeting and also people who were scheduled to go to the Amway meeting but didn't show up. So we compiled that list. We also tried to get a list of people that McKay knew that he might unlock the door far or lit in if he was alone and his parents were gone.


The next suspect on the list was a man named Rick Metz. You actually heard him briefly on the last episode. He was one of the family friends who had called to inquire about McKay.


Kyle. Hey. It's Ricky. Hey, is McKay not home?


Rick, we He met at church. He was trying to find himself, couldn't figure out what he wanted to do with life. We let him wash windows, plant flowers, go to the yard, anything, just help him out. He used to come over and take care of the pets, and he did have a key. He fit the profile, they said, because he was still with his mama, never married, and so that left him as a person of interest.


I did have a key to house. I did babysit that child occasionally when they would go away, even overnight stays, I would go and stay at their home. My name is Rick Metz. In 1995, I had just started working with the Montgomery County Appraisal district. I was around them quite often, and then I got to where I helped them work in their yard and do odd jobs around their house. They were just a lot of fun.


On September 13th, the morning after McKay disappeared, Rick got a phone call.


I'm at work, and Margaret Jett, who is the librarians at his school, also a church member, she calls me and says, Ricky, I understand McKay has been kidnapped. Do you know anything about it. I knew nothing. So I told her I'd call her back. I hang up.


That's when Rick called the Everts.


Ms. Jett just called and said SNAe kidnapped him? Well, we're trying to figure that out. Okay. But we're waiting be on a phone call. Okay, well, I'm at work if you need me.Thank you, Rick.Bye..


After getting off the phone with Carl, Rick says he found himself unable to work. He was shocked by the kidnapping and wanted to help however he could.


So I just clocked out at work and drove to their home. And nothing was out of the ordinary, except a motorhome was in the back driveway. So I thought, Oh, they have visitors.


Rick walked right by the FBI's mobile command post and knocked on the Everett's front door.


No one answered. So I just took my key and opened it and let myself in. And when I got to the kitchen, bam, this huge African-American man steps in front of me, stops me and ask me who I am and where I was going. I told him who I was, and I said, I understand McKay has been kidnapped, and I asked to speak to Paulette. And he said, Well, I don't know if she can speak to you. I said, If you let her know Rookies here, she'll speak to me. So he pointed to the bedroom and I walked to the bedroom and there was Paulette in bed, couldn't speak. She just mumbled. I told her I had to go back to work if she needed me to call me, and she just shook her head, yes. As I passed back by the kitchen, they asked for my phone number. I gave it to them. I didn't really figure I was a suspect. I get back to work, and within 10 minutes, my supervisor came and said, Ricky, there's someone here wants to talk to you. Well, I step out in the hallway and they're not there.


I said, Who is it? He said, They're in the boardroom. I said, They? He said, Yes, it's about McKay. I said, Oh, my God. I went to the boardroom and there were seven FBI agents in there. Listen, everybody has a job, but they were rude baskets. They wanted to know what I knew about it, and I told them, I know nothing. They had me write down everything I had done the night before from when I left to work until I went to bed. Thank God, we were having a birthday party at our home for my sister. I just kept telling them, Ever since I'm part of Amway, if anybody's done anything, if it was someone from Amway, and it wasn't too far off.


Remember, Amway Amway is the multi-level marketing program that Carl was involved with, and McKay had disappeared while Carl was hosting an Amway meeting at the bank downtown.


Have you ever been to an Amway meeting? Well, let me tell you, it's wrong. They take people like the Everett to have big, lush, nice things, nice home, and they invite these no-ones, these people that have nothing, into their home and say, Look what Amway has done for Well, Amway didn't do that shit for them, nor many people. But you invite total strangers off the street to your home like that, you're asking for trouble.


Rick says the FBI agents kept grilling him.


While the agents had me at work, there were six more here at our farm. They took feet out of my feed bin, I guess, looking for body parts. I don't know. They didn't have a warrant or anything. I mean, we didn't have anything to hide. So my dad just says, Well, sure. Here, help yourself.


After the FBI finished interrogating Rick, they told him they wanted to polygraph him.


I don't have a problem with it, but I'm not going anywhere or moving another second until I call my attorney because I feel that I could be getting fined for something that I have no clue and haven't done. Then they said, Just drop all that and tell us what you did with him. I'm like, Oh, God, this This is not going good.


Rick thinks part of the reason the FBI was so hung up on him is because it was an open secret that he was gay at a time when that was still taboo in Texas.


Because I'm single because I was over 30, because I fit the mold of a pedophile. Fuck that. That's so stupid. But I quickly realized this is not about you. It's about a boy. And usually when a kid is kidnapped, it is a close friend or family member. I know that for a fact from watching TV. I was a close friend, not a family member, but I was closer than most of their family members.


Rick talked to his lawyer about the polygraph.


Then she goes, You don't have to do that. I said, I have nothing to hide, and I'm going to do it. She said, Ricky, we can't trust any of these people. I said, I know, but I haven't done everything, and I feel I have to do it. So I went and did it. The polygraph machine was like makeshift with a bunch of boxes all over the place and a plastic table.


The polygrapher asked Rick to walk through what he had done the night before. And again, Rick recounted he had been at his sister's birthday party.


I mean, down deep, I knew that it was going to be okay. I was pissed off as hell that I knew it was going to be okay. I hadn't done anything. But then all of a sudden, I'd get scared and say, Yeah, there's innocent people in jail, too. So you've got to just stay calm and answer their questions.


Rick maintained that he knew nothing about the kidnapping. How, despite being a close friend of the Everets, he hadn't even heard about the kidnapping until the school Librarian had called him that morning. The polygrapher finished with his questions and told Rick he was free to go.


When I was leaving, I said, Well, will I hear from you again? He goes, Hell no. Go home and don't worry about this. It's going to be okay. Our pastor at the time phoned me and he said, Ricky, they're not accusing you. They're trying to find McKay. I said, I understand all that, but what rubbed me the wrong way is if I was such a close friend and I wasn't really being accused, why was it that the librarians is the one who called me?


Rick was offended that the Everards hadn't reached out to him to help search for McKay.


And all these other baskets all knew about it, and they were all over their house. I was being talked about why would he do something so stupid? I was just turned off by all of it. And again, I still was not pissed. I wasn't mad at him. It just was, I don't know. It changed everything.


Paulette says it was obvious that Rick was hurt by the whole situation situation.


He was crushed. He was crushed, and it was very hurtful. What they were doing was a process of elimination. They were just trying to eliminate as quickly as possible so they could move on to find who had Mekay. You have to, when a child is involved, as hurtful as it is, you have to.


Because time was slipping away, and unless investigators found a new lead soon, So were there chances of ever seeing Makea again?


Producer Ben Kiebrake here. I I'm going to tell you about June's Journey, a thrilling mystery game that you can download for iPhone or Android. It's a free game where you become a detective solving puzzles and hunting for clues. But what really makes June's Journey unique is its story. You play as June, a woman from the 1920s investigating her sister's murder. But as you play, you'll meet a whole cast of interesting characters, characters who might provide you with valuable clues or who might be suspects themselves. It's hard to know who to trust. In the game, you can focus on exploring the mystery and moving forward in the story, or you can just let your imagination run wild and spend time decorating your luxurious island estate. Either way, help support Ransom today by downloading June's Journey. You can get it for free using a link in the episode description. Discover your inner detective when you download June's Journey today for free on iOS and Android. Thanks.


On Thursday, September 14th, at 1:30 PM, the Everets held a press conference in front of their home. Forty hours Hours had now passed since McKay had disappeared, and every passing moment felt more crucial than the last. With friends and neighbors beside them, Carl and Paulette stood in front of TV cameras and pleaded for McKay's life.


Mckay, if you're watching this tonight, son, just understand that we're trying everything we can to get you back home safely, and we are going to get you back home safely.


Whoever holds you captive, I pray for God's mercy and God's grace on their soul. Please let my son go. He's all I have.


His mother almost died bringing him into the world. And now we're about to die trying to get him back.


Authorities believe the people who took McKay were driving a gold Chrysler-like car with four doors. If you have information, the FBI wants to hear from you. All sorts of thoughts raced through my head. I wondered if McKay had eaten that night. If he was still alive, did he get any food? Where did he lay his head? Did he get a bath? Could he have clean clothes? And what did he feel? Was he angry, fearful, crying, totally out of control, emotionally? What There are kids that are abducted for sexual exploitation. There are children physically, mentally, emotionally starved. We were up 24/7. I slept very little for days, and I would be just walking to the house pacing like a caged up animal, and I would pace and pace. We could imagine anything, and we did.


While some investigators had been busy trying to eliminate Carl and Rick as suspects, police. Others were looking for new clues. The agents were just getting the lay of the land to try to identify possible people that weren't where they're supposed to be, where were they, and things of that nature. And that's what they started doing. Lloyd Dias was one of the FBI agents working the case. We had agents going out to speak to these individuals saying, Hey, where were you? You weren't at the meeting this, that, and the other. Most everybody said, Oh, I was whatever. If it was something we were leery about, we'd go to another Step. And so this one guy, Hilton Crawford, he was a real close friend of the family. In fact, you understand, McKay called him Uncle Hilton. Hilton Crawford was the friend who was supposed to bring some new recruits to the Amway meeting the the night McKay disappeared, but Hilton hadn't showed up to the meeting that night. As detectives continue to investigate, Hilton Crawford's name seemed to keep coming up. Here's FBI agent Bob Lee.


There were some things that we were finding out that made Hilton what we would call a person of interest today.


But Hilton had an alibi for the night of the kidnapping. He'd been off on a work trip. He managed a small security guard company with contracts across East Texas, and he said his employees could vouch for him. We wanted to polygraph him, and he said, Well, he's going to come in, but he's real busy. It won't be but a couple of days. Hilton said he needed to deliver paychecks or else his employees wouldn't get their money by payday, but he said he'd be available in a few days for the polygraph. Paulette had met Hilton Crawford soon after she'd moved to Texas. Back when Paulette was a first-grade teacher in Conroe, she'd taught across the hall from Hilton's wife, Connie.


We would always have our beginning of the year and ending of the year parties at her home. She had a lovely home.


Paulette remembers meeting Hilton at one of those parties. He was a jovial guy, confident. He'd worked for two decades as a police officer and Sheriff's Deputy in nearby Beaumont, and he had even once run for Sheriff in nearly one. But he'd recently moved to Conroe with his wife and two children, where he opened a security guard business and started coaching Little League.


I thought he was hardworking because he always seemed to have something going on.


Back when Paulette was teaching, the two families would see each other often.


Our hallway had six teachers on it. We'd get together as a group and just go out to dinner, and our husbands would go. And that's how we got to know each other more on a family basis.


The Crawfords were around 10 years older than the Everets, and their children were already in high school by the time McKay was born. But the two couples got along. Carl, in particular, hit it off with Hilton, who reminded Carl of one of his older brothers. Hilton was tall. He'd been a high school basketball star, and though he'd put on some weight and was now balding, he still had the swagger and charm of an athlete, and he enjoyed watching sports and betting on games.


He'd bet you if the sun was going to shine tomorrow. I'm serious. I'm serious. And then he'd go, Well, you know that sun's shining even if it's behind the cloud.


Hilton would frequently go on trips to Vegas with his friends, and Carl would sometimes tag along.


Back when I was still teaching, before I had McKay.


After McKay was born, the couples grew apart. Paulette quit teaching so she didn't see Connie as often, and Carl got busy running his business. But Paulette says she felt like they were still on good terms with the Crawfords.


They were always, Hey, McKay, how are you doing? And hugging him and everything.


And McKay loved Uncle Hilton. It's Hilton. A home video of Paulette's shows Hilton stopping by their house on Christmas morning to give four-year-old McKay a gift. Santa Claus is here. What are you doing there? I don't know. Open it. The video shows McKay open the present and lift a big brown Teddy bear out of the box.


Oh. What's in there?


He flashes a smile at Hilton and then holds the bear tight against his chest. What is it?


Huh? He had a bite.


After McKay disappeared, Hilton was one of the first people Carl called. Because of Hilton's background in law enforcement, Carl thought he might have good advice about what to do. But Hilton wasn't home. His wife, Connie, told Carl that Hilton had left on a business trip. She said she didn't know how to reach him, but she would pass along the message if he called. The morning after the kidnapping, Hilton called Carl back. You actually heard this call in episode one. Carl?


Yeah. Hilton, what the world's going on? Hey, Hilton. I I don't know. I'm trying to find my son this morning. I called Connie. Born about 6:00. What the hell happened? Somebody kidnapped him last night. Were you serious? Yeah.


Where are you at?


I had a meeting in Philby this morning, and I'm heading back that way right now. Don't see me after a while. I'm coming to your house. I'm coming straight there. All right. See you later. All right.


But Hilton hadn't come straight to the Everts house. In fact, none of the Everts friends had seen him since the kidnapping. So where was Hilton Crawford? And what had he been doing the night McKay disappeared? Next time on Ransom.


I mean, he was really devastated and disgusted at the same time and just very hopeful. So here we are, 12, 1:00 in in the morning, whatever it was.


She opened the door, she was in a nightgown, and she never made eye contact.


For more information, including pictures, find us on social at the Ransom podcast or visit our website, ransompodcast. Com. We'll have new episodes every Wednesday and bonus episodes every Friday. Follow us now wherever you get your podcasts. Ransom is written and researched by Ben Kebrick and hosted by Art Rascone. Production and sound designed by Ben Kiebrick, Erin Mason, and Trent Sell. Trent also did the mixing. Special thanks to Andrea Smarten, Kelly Ann Halberson, Ryan Meeks, Amy Donaldson, Felix Bennell, Josh Tilton, and Dave Cawley. Main musical score composed by Allison Leighton-Brown, co-created by Austin Miller, with Podcast One executive producer, Ellie Dvorken, for Workhouse Media executive producer, Paul Anderson, and with KSL Podcasts executive and a producer Sheryl Worsley. Ransom is produced by KSL Podcasts in association with Podcast One and Workhouse Media. What's good? I'm Brian Greenberg. I'm Victor Rasuk. Check out our new podcast, We Almost Made It.


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